Tag Archives: craft beer

The Session #78: You like good hamburgers?

session_logo_all_text_300I’m taking the plunge and joining a group of other beer bloggers in what’s called The Session. Blogging on a beer topic on the first Friday of the month. Each month a blogger comes up with a topic and all the other bloggers respond.

This month James at Beer Bar Band asked what our “elevator pitch” for craft beer was. That’s to say if you have 30-seconds to convert a BMC drinker to a DFH drinker what do you say? To make things more challenging and keep the to length of an elevator ride I only have 250 words to for my pitch, so here goes:

That’s a nice beer you got there, have you ever had Sam Adam’s Boston Lager or Dogfish Head 60 Minute? Oh, no? You don’t like fancy beers? That’s too bad.

Do you like hamburgers? You do, great! So… I guess you just always eat McDonald’s quarter pounder, right? I mean it’s a hamburger, and it’s good, not great, but good.

Oh, you really like Red Robin? Cool, me too. I love the Royal, something about a fried egg on a burger is really tasty to me… screw my arteries!

Why do you like Red Robin more than McDonald’s? Better flavor and variety? Definitely, I’m right there with you. If you like variety, ya know the spice of life and all that, and better flavor hamburgers you should really think about applying that to beer too.

The McDonald’s quarter pounder is just like your light beer there. It’s a burger, it’s ok, it’s available everywhere. But think about the Royal, it’s super tasty, maybe a little harder to get, and a little more expensive but SO worth it.

That’s just like craft beer.

You may not like those bitter beers, just like I don’t like Red Robin’s Whiskey River burger. But my boss loves the Whiskey River and I love bitter beers.

There are so many craft beer flavors you just need to spend a bit of time and I guarantee you’ll find one you love! Seriously, guarantee, if you don’t I’ll buy the rest of the 6-pack off you!

Boom, 250 words on the dot!

So that’s my “elevator pitch” for craft beer. What’s yours?

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A story of Anchor’s Liberty Ale and the little hop that could, Cascade!

A few days ago I did a Quick Sip review of this beer over on the Queen City Drinks Facebook page. If you haven’t liked us on Facebook yet now is a great time to do it so you can keep up to date on the quick sip reviews. I enjoyed this beer so thoroughly that I felt compelled to give it a full blog post especially because of the significant history in this beer.

In the far distant past of the mid 1960s the American craft beer scene was… well non-existent. Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco had gone through a number of owners throughout the years until Fritz Maytag (of the washing machine family) bought the place up in 1965. By the mid 1970s there was a craft beer scene and there was a lot of preparation for America’s bicentennial.

Almost every brewery was working on something special for July 4th, 1976 but Fritz didn’t want to get lost in the wash (intentional pun) of competition so he opted to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Paul Revere’s ride. To do this they created their Liberty Ale which used something new and relatively unheard of at the time, an American hop by the name of Cascade.

There were some hops grown in America but they were mostly bittering hops and the aroma hops were coming from England or Germany. That changed when a USDA researched created hop 56013. Hop 56013 would, in 1972 be first used by Coors, and eventually be called Cascade, and as of this week became the second most grown hop in America.

Fritz Maytag discovered this hop and decided it was what would make his Liberty Ale stand out as the first American craft beer to use cascades and the first american craft IPA. That decision is the proverbial butterfly wing beat that created a tidal wave of Cascade use in almost all American craft pale ales and India pale ales.

Great history and all but is this beer actually any good? Liberty Ale is a delicious 6% IPA with a superbly bountiful aroma of citrus and flowers owed entirely to the little hop that could, Cascade. If you’ve got yard work to do or a grill out to go to this summer I strongly advise picking up a six pack of this to enjoy! It should be available at any better beer store this summer, or any time of year.

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Ohio Girls Pint Out Inaugural Meeting

girlspintout

Girls just want to have beer!

Look out Cincinnati! Lock up your husbands’ and sons’ beer taps because Ohio women have a new drinking club and we are officially open for business. Girls Pint Out is a loosely organized national group with many local chapters but they are all dedicated to bringing together women who love craft beer.

Girls Pint Out originated in Indianapolis, Indiana in early 2010. The Girls Pint Out movement quickly spread to Arizona and Texas with charter chapters. Today, Girls Pint Out has more than 15 chapters nationwide giving women the opportunity to socialize and learn more about craft beer. While educational events are planned with women in mind, our social events are co-ed to encourage craft beer drinkers both male and female to further their journey into the craft beer community.

I was so happy to be able to attend the first meeting of the newly formed Ohio chapter of Girls Pint Out. Terri Houston, the Ohio coordinator of the group, did a fabulous job setting up the event held at Tap House Grill. We had one of the distributors from Mt. Carmel Brewing company there to talk us through a flight of their beer and to answer our questions. We started with a pitcher of the Blonde Ale and I have to say I was very impressed by that one. It was a perfect summer ale; light, refreshing, mildly sweet with a hint of citrus and easy on the hops. I could have drank that all day.

flight of mt carmel beer

We had a nice selection of appetizers to share and of course we also had to have at least one other pint as well. The Tap House does have a pretty decent selection of beers on tap as you might expect from the name. The conversation was great. I got to finally meet Lindsey from Love Beer Love Food as well as hang out with several other good friends. We discussed our favorite types of beer and breweries, and shared the story of how we got into craft beer. A common comment I heard was basically, “I tried beer in college and it was gross so I never really bothered with it. Then one day I tried good beer and a whole new world opened up.” This experience fits nicely into my own theory of why it is that fewer women drink beer. I believe that a great many women and men try the gross stuff when they are new drinkers and think it is disgusting. But since women aren’t expected to like beer anyway and there are alternatives, they head over to Arbor Mist or Mike’s Hard Lemonade and never give beer another thought. Men, on the other hand, probably grew up seeing their dads and other men drinking beer and their friends give them a hard time if they drink something ‘girly’ so they keep chugging the gross beer until they develop a taste for it. But I digress. The point is that this was a super fun event and I hope to see more women at the next Girls Pint Out. The next meet up is July 15th at the Moerlein Lager House. It will include a beer tasting and talk by Brewmaster Richard Dube. The cost is $15 and includes taster samples and some light appetizers. Space is limited for this event, so please reserve your spot today by emailing terri@girlspintout.com or RSVP on the facebook event page. I plan on being there and I hope to see you there too.

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Know your local brewery: Listermann’s/Triple Digit

Continuing my goal to help folks get to know the brewers and breweries behind their favorite local beers I stopped by Listermann Brewing Company in Evanston (next to Norwood) for a talk with owner Dan Listermann, head brewer Kevin Moreland, and social media director Jason Brewer. To provide some background info before we get rolling Listermann’s was first a home brew store, supplying the area with everything they needed to make their own beer. They then evolved into a small brewery under the same name and after a few more years decided to add Triple Digit as a separate brand, though it’s still brewed in the same place and on the same equipment as the Listermann’s beers.

Due to interviewing 3 people at slightly seperate times over 2 hours I have paraphrased most of the following unless otherwise noted.

About the brewer:

  • How’d you get into “good” beer?
    • Dan Listermann first brewed in 1973 (before home brewing was legal in the US) when he was at Miami University, he gave it up after a few terrible tasting brews.

    “I walked into a drug store in Oxford and it was a package with a pound of malt and an ounce of hops and I was supposed to boil that all up with 5 pounds of sugar and put that in a clean garbage can with a packet of fleischmann’s [bread yeast]. I had a special hydrometer with a big B on it and you were supposed to bottle it when it got to the B. So I bottled it then and most of them foamed all over the place and some of them blew up and it all smelled bad. You couldn’t get proper yeast.” – Dan Listermann

    • Around 1987 Dan’s old roommate gave him a call, convinced him to hang out and brew again, and they made some really good brews. Dan started making beers again, joined the bloatarians, and wasn’t happy with some of the equipment available. Being an engineer by trade Dan set about making his own equipment. By 1993 his business was being held back by his job and his job was being held back by his business. Dan could get another job in engineering easy enough but to found another business would be very difficult.
  • What has the local brewing community been like?
    • Dan: Oh wonderful. I go to events and all the beer geeks are there and I know them all.Most of the guys who have breweries now started out here one way or the other. It’s a real tight community, we don’t look at each other as competition, we are mining the rich vein of Bud Light drinkers. The more they drink of craft beer the more likely they’ll drink our craft beer as well. The big conversion isn’t going form one craft beer to the next, it’s going from Bud Light to real beer.

About the brewery:

  • How and when did Listermann’s get going? How bout Triple Digit?
    • Dan Listermann started manufacturing homebrewing equipment back in 1991 out of his house. The store officially started in 1995 and kept manufacturing equipment until about 7 years ago. They found it wasn’t really worth the effort and in 2008 got a brewing license. It was really a side thing that didn’t take off very well at the time. In the winter of 2011/2012 Kevin Moreland was hired as head brewer and that’s when things really started taking off big time.
    • Triple Digit was Dan’s idea from a long time ago. He wanted something to differentiate the Listermann beers from the “honking huge ones” that is big, high alcohol beers in 22 oz bombers.
  • What’s it like managing two brands under the same roof?
    • The upside is they are able to differentiate between two different kinds of beer and distribute differently. The downsides are having to double brand awareness efforts. They frequently have to explain to people that both Listermann’s and Triple Digit are actually the same brewery.
  • Is there a story behind the names?
    • Listermann’s Brewering Company (the store and brewery) are named after owner Dan Listermann
    • Triple Digit is named for all their beers having a starting gravity of over 100. Starting gravity is a measurement of the amount of sugars in a beer; the more fermentable sugar the higher the starting gravity. The  difference between starting and finishing gravity can be used to calculate the alcohol by volume.
  • What is your brewing process, from brain storm to bottle shelf?
    • Kevin: The first thing I do is listen to Jason nag about things about what we don’t have and what we should be doing. I always look at what the market is doing here locally, then I’ll look at our flavor profile, and something I want to drink during this season. Once we come up with a concept we have to figure out if it’s feasible to do at the brewery, how we’re gonna brew it, bottle it, label it. It kills you to do some small batch runs because the amount of labor involved and labels and everything. One of the big key things is if it’s gonna be unique enough for us to produce, we want to make sure it’s a home run and not something that’s just for 100 people in the room.
    • Jason: Long story short it either takes 2 hours or 6 months. Like the Peanut Butter Porter I bugged Kevin for 6 months, every time he asked me what he should brew and I’d say the Peanut Butter Porter. One time though he asked me and I said brew me a double IPA, he went to his computer and 30 minutes later was brewing it.
    • Kevin: At any time there’s 50 different beers in my head that I want to brew but it’s the space and time. That’s what I like about being in the small brewery and that’s why I chose to come here. I get an idea and next week you may have it on draft here. We’re not here to do 8,000 barrels a year, we’re here to do unique beers and making sure everyone gets paid.
  • What can we expect to see from L/TD going forward?
    • Slide Job – This is a collaboration brew with Cellar Dweller. It will be an oatmeal sweet stout aged in port barrels with cherries added.
    • Cranium – Imperial oatmeal stout with vanilla and coffee, from Coffee Emporium, added.
    • Julia with blackberries – Julia is a Belgian-style sour blonde brewed with Riesling and Muscat grape juices and aged in oak barrels
    • The Cincinnati river boat series – Kevin: This will be 3 sour historical style beers, 2 of which are too far off in the future to talk about, but the first one will be called Colonel Plug its a Kentucky Common. This is a historical style brewed with a lot of corn, black malt, and 6-row malt. We did a 20 hour sour mash and used 40% corn, 6-row, and a little bit of honey malt. Which added some sweetness and gave it all a nice color that looks like Bourbon. We took the sour mash and got it to a certain PH that I felt was the right sourness for the beer. Ran it off and boiled it then aged it in American White Oak like how the beer would’ve been done back then. We’ve bottled it and are waiting on label approval. This was a collaboration with Ray Spangler, creator of the Bloatarian brewing league and home brewer of the year for 1987.
  • Details on the new bottling line
    • Jason: Currently 2 guys work together to hand fill the bottles much like a [slightly advanced] home brew system. We had someone the Ohio’s Bureau of Worker Compensation in at an event who mentioned that they had a grant available that you can write and get money towards a bottling machine. We looked into it and didn’t think anything of it, I wrote the grant, they came out and watched us. I had to write out all the steps for hand bottling and how much time and money we could save with a bottling machine. They approved the grant and we should have the machine here by the end of August. Then we just have to do case studies on the number of steps that are saved to prevent workers compensation claims, not that we’ve had any, but with the expansion that we’re doing there will be a whole lot more room for that to happen. We’ll start doing 4 packs of 12 oz for Triple Digit bottles.
  • Where can folks go to get Listermann’s or Triple Digit?
    • Listermann’s – Always on tap at Arnold’s and JAPs, often at Gordo’s, Rhinehaus in OTR, Firehouse Grill in Blue Ash has Jungle Honey, Parker’s in Blue Ash [and the Listermann’s tap room!]
    • Triple Digit – Is available in bottles at  better beer stores around town
  • Anything else that you want folks to know?
    • Kevin: Come down and have a beer with us! Cincinnati is booming with craft breweries coming on board and all the fans, and the bloggers, talking about all the collaborations and brands is great. I encourage everyone to go around and check them all out and for the local bars to carry the local beers.

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Audacity of Hops [Book Review]

Before even cracking open The Audacity of Hops:The History of America’s Craft Beer Revolution, just totally judging it by it’s cover, I’m psyched. I dig the play on Obama’s Audacity of Hope book (not trying to get political), turning it into Audacity of Hops. It’s also an applicable title as well because this is the story of the American craft beer movement and much of that movement has been pushed by American hops and the usage (or over usage depending on your preference) of them.

The-Audacity-of-Hops

The author starts with a skim through the ancient history of beer, early american beer, and prohibition in a few paragraphs. This is good for two reasons: this info has been covered extensively elsewhere and it allows him to get more in depth with the people, places, and most importantly stories of the American craft beer movement. The Audacity of Hops goes into significant, but not overwhelming, detail about the various reckless gambles around the founding, or expansions, of many breweries as well as the contexts of the time for people and beer. The author makes this retelling enjoyable and engaging, there are plenty of facts sprinkled throughout but not page after page of yearly quantities and revenues I’ve encountered in other books.

However the book tends to be heavy with hyperbole, especially with the early home brewers. The author makes it seem that these men, Jack McAuliffe and Fred Eckhardt, birthed a brand new discovery to the universe with herculean effort. While in reality they only did what people around the world had done for millenia, brew beer at home. Now I don’t want to diminish their efforts, they certainly broke the law of the land at the time and did something few had done in 30 years and those who had done it recently hadn’t done it well.

The book could, at quite a few points, do with better editing. The author has a tendency to run on about random breweries that didn’t survive beyond a year or two. Should they be mentioned? Certainly, otherwise there could appear a nonstop success with no failures. However, they don’t each need 3 or 4 pages. We also don’t need 2 paragraph biographies of every single brewer nor do we need them repeated frequently. I think by the end of the book I’d read a description of Fritz Maytag (owner and resuscitator of Anchor) at least 10 times.

At first I was doubtful but the structure of the book has proven itself to work well. That structure is mainly chronological but also, more importantly, geographical. We move through the years hoping across the United States and occasionally over seas. From San Francisco to New York, Juneau, Boulder, Baghdad and back. This works to tell how the craft beer story is an American one and isn’t just in California (though they can rightfully claim the birthplace).

I enjoyed reading this and think that many fans of craft beer will enjoy it as well. It’ll gives you a long list of new beers to try and a concise history of American craft brewers and breweries that I haven’t found elsewhere. Plus some fodder for arguments over contract brewing, the importance of brewery X vs brewery Y, and “How dare he not include [insert favorite local/regional brewery here]!”.

Lastly, I have a new favorite beer quote & motto for what I try to do with the blog:

“I still see people buying and swilling terrible beer. I sometimes think my job is like farting against a gale, but I just keep moving forward”

– Michael Jackson.

You can pick this up on Amazon at $15 for the paperback version or $10 for kindle. It should also be available at any other bookstores.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I reached out to the author and his publisher was kind enough to hook me up with a free copy. To our readers, and any companies interested in sending me stuff, giving me free stuff impacts the review in only 2 ways. That I WILL review it and that and I WILL write a blog post about it. Giving me free stuff does not guarantee you a favorable review or that I will tell everyone to go buy it.

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Beer Review: Dogfish Head Midas Touch

This right here is not your normal beer origin story. The folks at Dogfish Head have recreated this beer based off chemical residue on a 2,700 year old artificat found in the tomb of King Midas. Dogfish Head teamed up with a molecular archaeologist to decode this residue into the ingredients from which they created the recipe for this exotic brew. Continue reading

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Beer Review: Brooklyn Sorachi Ace

Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace is a rather unique and special beer. Many brews are made with a combination of hop varieties this beer is very different as it uses 1 single hop from which it takes it’s name, the sorachi ace. While many hops are hundreds of years old and were found growing wild, not so for the sorachi ace. It was custom engineered by Sapporo in Japan in the late 70s from a combination of brewer’s gold and saaz hops, both classic varieties. Sorachi ace also shows off one final unique characteristic by having a flavor of lemon and dill, different then the citrus/grapefruit/grass action of many hops.

So Brooklyn Brewery took this unique hop and used it in the somewhat special style of saison. Saisons are a complex style with a wide range of possible profiles, however, most are dry, moderate strength beers that are refreshing on hot summer days. They’re the second runner up for summer beers next to wheat beers like Bell’s Oberon and Sam Adam’s Summer Ale. Per the Brooklyn Brewery website Sorachi Ace is “a cracklingly dry, hoppy unfiltered golden farmhouse ale, but made entirely with now-rare Sorachi Ace hops grown by a single farm in Washington.”

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Know your local brewery: Cellar Dweller

When I first had Cellar Dweller last year I was not quite amazed. I remember trying 3 or 4 and found them all to be good, not great and certainly not astounding. That changed drastically a few weeks ago at Village Wine Cellar in Lebanon. I had the Doorbell IPA that went through a Hop Rocket right before kegging and man was it amazing (sadly as I found out there has only been 1 6 barrel of that so far). That motivated me to get me off my ass, pay a visit to the Cellar Dweller, and help you all know a bit more about them.

The fist things to know is that as of now Cellar Dweller is one guy in a basement. Steve Shaw is the head brewer out at Cellar Dweller and he really is in a “basement”, however it may be one of the nicest basements out there. Unlike most breweries who are on their own in a warehouse Cellar Dweller has the distinct advantage of residing beneath the Valley Vineyard winery. Steve is part of the Valley Vineyard’s family and they were happy to lend him a hand when he got the idea for this brewery.

About the brewer:

  • How’d you get into “good” beer?
    • When I was about 21 I did a road trip with my brother and it was the first time I had any craft beer. I’d been drinking Bud Light and Budweiser and we went up to a little local brewery and I was like Man this is what beer is supposed to be like. This was before you could go to Kroger or anywhere and buy craft beer so I started brewing it and it just developed from there.
  • What is local/craft beer to you?
    • Anything that is 100 miles from your area.
  • What has the local brewing community been like?
    • It’s been awesome man. I’ve gained a lot of friends that I think will be lifelong friends. Copper Head is a beer that I’ve been brewing at home for years and had it perfect. I got on the system here and kept running into problems. I sent some beers down to Kevin [Moreland of Listermann’s/Triple Digit], we talked over my process and as soon as he tasted it he knew what it was and helped me solve the issue. What other industry, where you’re directly competing with someone, can you go down there and get help with your beer?
  • You. Desert island. Three beers. What do you choose?
    • Sam Adam Boston Lager
    • Blank Slate Brewing Company Fork in the Road
    • MadTree Psychopathy

About the brewery:

  • How and when did Cellar Dweller get going?
    •  I’m a brother in law of Kenny, who owns the winery, I was never a wine drinker so I’d always bring the beer in. So I came to Kenny and talked to him about bringing some beer into the winery. He was a little hesitant but my beer started getting better and better at the family events. So my nephew and I talked him into it and here we are! We started brewing Feburary 21st, 2012 and are 15 times over our first year numbers, almost 400 barrels. New 10 barrel system will be online in the next 2 – 3 weeks, plus new bright tanks will be a total of 60 barrels on hand at any time.
  • Is there a story behind the name?
    • For years everyone that worked in the cellar at the winery, we called them cellar dwellers. They go downstairs in the morning and they don’t come back up till the end of the day. We threw the name out there and kept trying different names but that one kept sticking.

    The beer is actually brewed in the cellar

  • What is your brewing process, from brain storm to bottle shelf?
    • I go off of my palate, and that’s me becoming a brewer then having to brew for someone else. I was brewing beer that I liked, every beer I brewed I liked. Someone else would try and and say they don’t like it. Then I started to have to brew beers other people liked and that was the hardest adjustment. Out of our 9 beers there are probably 4 that I really really like and the others are like yeah I can drink ’em. My session beer is 50 IBU and if I’m sitting down drinking it’s 100+, that’s just my style and what I like. So I sit down and make a recipe trying to think about what people like. We’ll make a batch and bring it up and see what people think, if they like it I keep the notes.
  • How has everything been going over all?
    • Steve kinda answered this earlier saying they were 15 times over initial projections. Later on in the interview he had the following “the first full year of the brewery the dinner crowd didn’t swing off as fast in the fall as it has in years before. The crowd leveled out definitely but didn’t fall off as fast.”
  • Are any of your ingredients local? If so which:
    • All of our grain is out of Chicago and I try to buy as much as I can locally. We’re gonna start growing hops in the vineyard, start about 5 acres and see how they rate with other hop areas. We’ll grow all different varieties and see how Ohio can do at growing hops.
  • Where can folks go to get Cellar Dweller?
    • Valley Vineyard’s obviously
    • Village wine Cellar in Lebanon
    • Arthur’s in Hyde Park
    • Wildflower Cafe in Mason
    • General Denver Hotel in Wilmington
    • The Pub in Beavercreek, soon to be 2 more of their locations
    • Putters 2 Put in Maineville
    • Paxton’s Grill in Loveland
    • Firehouse Grill in Blue Ash
  • When can we expect to see bottles?
    • Once we get the new system up and running the plan is that about 50% of our production will go into bottles. But we’re also looking into cans, we don’t have a packaging system yet. I think the market is there for cans and I think it’d do very well. We have a company that’s starting up in Columbus, Buckeye Mobile Canning, everything’s packed in a 26 foot box truck, they hook their hoses up to your bright tank, run it through everything leave the pallets of cans and they’re gone! It’ll be towards the middle/end of summer before that happens.

Anything else that you want folks to know?

  • We’ll be adding a new upstairs area, calling it The Loft at Valley Vineyards. It’ll be more  of a pub feel more of a craft beer style tap room where you can come in and have a bar area and a table sitting area. Our beers are constantly evolving and we’re going for full distribution by the end of summer.

The biggest little brewery in town.

Festival info – We had this festival for almost 30 years but scaled it back, but it back on the drawing board, and came back with a new idea. Now it’s the Valley Vineyards taste of Warren County. We’re trying to bring in more local foods and local restaurants as well as a few other breweries. [Listermann/Triple Digit & Blank Slate Brewing Company have been confirmed since the time of the interview.] For last 2 years we had it it was only Saturday night, but this year we’re bringing Friday night back in. The hours are Friday 5 – 11 pm and Saturday 11 am – 11 pm. We’ll have live music, obviously the food and wine, a couple guest breweries. Here is the list of events for both days and you can get tickets here.

A grand future ahead!

Steve was kind enough to hook me up with a bottle of his Copperhead pale ale as a taste of what’s to come and trust me that there is some great stuff to come. I don’t want to give this a full review as it may be a bit different then whats on draft now and what will eventually be bottled/canned. The quick review is that is a super heady with a great hazy amber brown color, bountiful citrus aroma & flavor, nice hop bitterness and flavor balanced by bready caramel malt flavor. Really excited to have some more of this once it starts rolling out.

For more info on Cellar Dweller check their web page http://www.valleyvineyards.com/cellardwellerbeers.html and Facebook page.

This is the third post in my series on knowing your local brewery. If you missed the first two then go back and get some info on Rivertown and Blank Slate Brewing Company.

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Listermann/Triple Digit dinner at Parker’s Blue Ash Tavern

I was lucky enough to get invited to this beer dinner at Parker’s Blue Ash Tavern featuring the brews of Listermann and Triple Digit. Before we go any farther a bit of background on Listermann and Triple Digit. Listermanns has been a home brew store for a long time now then 5 years ago they started a small brewery aptly named Listermann Brewing Company. Wanting to experiment more they then created a separate brewery know as Triple Digit Brewing company, so named for all their beers having a original gravity in the triple digits. So they’re both brewed at the same place and on the same equipment but are “different” breweries.

I’ve said it before and I’ll again repeat that I’m no food blogger but I’ll do what I can on that front. I will, however, be focusing on the brews and how well they pair with the courses. As for the restaurant I’d never been to Parker’s Blue Ash Tavern before but have seen how they’ve been improving their craft beer selection lately. I quickly checked on the way in and saw at least 8 taps of craft plus a standard sized color case full of craft bottles.

First Course:
Tuna Tacos (Cucumber Salsa, Jalapeno Crema, Cilantro) 
paired with a Serpentine Wheat.
Beer: Listermann Serpentine Wheat
Style: Wheat Ale
ABV: 5.5%
IBU: 18
Ingredients: 2 row pale, wheat malt, oats; sterling and sorachi ace hops; American ale yeast

Little bit darker than most wheats with much more orange color. Nice light aroma of wheat that reminds me of summer days. Very crisp taste with light citrus flavors, but not really the typical IPA type of citrus more lemony than that. Very light body and smooth mouth feel with plenty of carbonation bubbling across your tongue and almost no sense of alcohol. Super refreshing on a hot day.

The heat from the Jalapeno meets up well with the cool soothing wheat but it’s was still a pretty hot dish… Or I’m getting old and losing my joy/tolerance of spicy food.

Second Course:
Fish & Chips (Battered Pacific Cod, Crispy Plantain, Napa Cabbage) 
Beer: Listermann Leopold.
Stye: Belgian blonde
ABV: 6.2%
IBU: 26
Ingredients: Pilsner malt, wheat, flaked corn; Sterling hops; Belgian yeast
Availability: draft only

Extremely light pale yellow, could be mistaken for a Bud Light. Strong flavors from the Belgian yeast strand brings out aromas of fruit. The flavor profile matches the aroma strongly of fruit and lots of grapes specifically. Uber light body and mild carbonation. Really flavorful beer showing off loads of fruit.

The meal was infused with Leopold in multiple ways and tasted great with it.

Third Course:
Beer Belly & Pork Rinds (Smoked Pork Belly, Spicy Pork Rinds, Avocado) 
Beer: Listermann Jungle Honey
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 5.7%
IBU: 40
Ingredients: 2-row, crystal, and honey malt; perle and zythos hops; American Ale yeast
Availability: Draft only 😦

Orange brown color topped with slight head. Complex aroma mixing the bitter and sweet. Flavor hits you with a touch of bitterness then a wave of sweetness. Medium body and finish. I really enjoyed the flavor of this brew.

Really awesome combo with the beer and food here. Fatty pork flavors of the meat were washed away by the IPA cleansing the palate for another bite.

Entree Course:
Ohio Steak & Potatoes (Ribeye Two Ways, Asparagus, Roasted Beef Jus)
Beer: Triple Digit Aftermath
Style: Scottish Wee Heavy
ABV: 10.5%
IBU: 25
Ingredients: 2 row, crystal, victory, and chocolate malts; brewers gold hops; ale yeast
Availability: 22 oz bottles and limited release draft

Dark brown mahogany color. Strong caramel and toasted bread aromas. Matching flavor with loads of alcohol, but not aggressive or in your face. Fuller body with a creamy mouth feel. Very enjoyable, but you should only do so with caution!

Sorry, this food looked to delicious to wait to take a picture. Super awesome Ribeye, Asparagus, and fried Potatoes which goes great with this strong beer.

Dessert Course:
Nutty Bars (Fresh Peanut Butter, Wafers, Chocolate)
Beer: Listermann Nutcase
Style: Peanut butter porter
ABV: 6.7%
IBU: 28
Ingredients: 2 row pale, aromatic, crystal, Chocolate, flaked oat malts; brewers gold hops; American ale yeast.

Very dark brown color. Nuts are all over the place here strong in the aroma and flavor. If you don’t like peanut butter you might want to stay away. I on the other hand love peanut butter and always say the world needs more porters, resulting in this beer being a great combo for me.

Super delicious but almost a little too rich. Think about those vanilla wafer sandwiches, just in a peanut butter flavored and ultra gourmet version.

Not getting down to Norwood (where the Listermann/Triple Digit brewery is) very often I have few chances to try these Listermann brews. Since Triple Digit is bottled and distributed more widely I’m much more familiar with their line up and have had Aftermath quite a few times. This is something that will have to change. I was seriously wowed by the Jungle Honey and need to get around to giving it a full review and making sure to get it more often.

If you’ve been looking for an excuse to do the same then this Saturday is that excuse, especially if you like hazelnuts! From 10 am – 10 pm it’s officially Chickow! Day at the brewery, featuring a release of Bourbon Barrel Chickow! as well as many different variations on tap and cask. I also hear it’ll be easier to acquire a variety of Triple Digit in the future as they’re getting a bottling line (they’ve been hand bottling everything) and will be releasing 4 and 6-packs as well as the 22 oz bombers they currently carry!

FULL DISCLOSURE: I was invited to this event by a PR firm and my meal was comped, so all food and beer were free. To our readers, and any breweries interested in inviting me to events, giving me free beer impacts the review in only 2 ways. That way is that I WILL review the beer and I WILL write a blog post about it. Giving me free beer does not guarantee you a favorable review or that I will tell everyone to go buy it or anything like that.

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Beer Review: Founders Double Trouble & Doom

I’m coupling these two reviews into one post because Doom is just Double Trouble… after spending 4 months in bourbon barrels. Double Trouble is Founders standard double IPA that is released in mass during May and June while Doom is only available now… if you can still find it. I was lucky enough to score a bottle before everywhere in town sold out thanks to the assistance of my sister-in-law. Sadly I don’t think you’ll be able to find anymore Doom around town but you can look this up again next year and find Double Trouble wherever better brews whenever the weather is cold.

Brewery: Founders
Beer: Double Trouble
Style: Double IPA
ABV: 9.4%
IBU: 86
Calories: ~280

Absolutely beautiful rich golden color with a snow white head topping.

Pungent aromas packing citrus into every nose hair.

Woah, super bitter kick in the palate. After that initial wave of bitterness comes grapefruit hops and a slight malty body that doesn’t come close to balancing things out.

Medium body with loads of carbonation, a slight bit of alcohol, and a lingering slickness.

This definitely lives up to the name Double Trouble and the style double IPA. With all the IPAs, and various sub-categories of IPA, out there this doesn’t come close to being one of my favorites. But it is an enjoyable brew, just not one I’d be in any kind of rush to have again. If you go crazy for citrus hop bitterness then you’ll go crazy for this. Love the label on this brew but it kinda blows that there’s no back story to it on the bottle. It just has the name, style, IBU, and ABV, oh and of course the gov’t warning.

Brewery: Founders
Beer: Doom
Style: Barrel Aged Double IPA
ABV: 10%
Calories: ~400

Comes out a slightly deeper golden hue then Double Trouble did with a LOT more of that same fizzy pure-white head.

Very slight bitter aroma mixes with bourbon, vanilla, caramel, and some citrus hops.

Surprisingly hoppy taste, I expected the citrus and bitterness to be much more subdued after 4 months in a barrel. All that mixes delicately with sweet caramel and vanilla backed by a solid amount of bourbon. Resulting in a very balanced flavor.

Medium body and mild carbonation come together for a mediocre mouth feel experience.

I have a feeling that many people will find this to be a great beer I, however, do not. It’s a good beer, and an interesting beer, but we don’t need to bourbon barrel age EVERYTHING just as we don’t need to hop the crap out of everything. Also $15 for a 750 ml is $5 more then I’m really interesting in paying for something less then spectacular. Call me cheap if you want but the value is rarely there at that price. All that said I’d still encourage folks to try this once, just get a bottle to split with 2 or 3 friends next year or this year if you get lucky!

Edit: Turns out I misunderstood the rarity of Doom. As part of Founder’s Backstage Series we may never see this beer again. Sorry if I got people excited. I know O’Bryan’s in Loveland had some as of Saturday (4/27) and folks are trading them online, so if you’re really interested don’t give up hope!

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